06/16/T – Blessed

Deuteronomy 3:1-29; Luke 6:20-38; Psalms 68:1-6; Proverbs 17:9-11

NT: “Then looking up at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, because the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are hungry now, because you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, insult you, and slander your name as evil because of the Son of Man… But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort. Woe to you who are now full, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are now laughing, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets. “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them… But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over — will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:20-22, 24-28, 31, 35-38‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This teaching from Jesus is known as His Sermon on the Plane. It is similar to His Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, but was given from a level or flat area (plane) instead of from a mountain side. In this message, Jesus gave His disciples a paradigm shift as He exposed their faulty way of thinking and introduced them to the ways of the Kingdom. In the minds of those who were following Jesus, wealthy people were blessed… well-fed people were blessed… funny, light-hearted people with a quick wit were blessed… popular people were blessed. Jesus said that those people actually needed to be wary because they were seeking the rewards and approval of the world and the culture of the day. If they continued down that path, they would lose all that they had gained in the life to come. Jesus said that those who were truly blessed were those who sacrificed immediate wealth, recognition, satisfaction, and happiness for the sake of following the Lord and trusting in His blessing. He also explained that to be truly bless-able, you need to walk in the ways and character of God Himself: loving your enemies and being kind to those who treat you wrongly, not harshly condemning people but showing them mercy and forgiveness, being generous to people even when they don’t deserve it. If we model our lives after God our Father, He will bless us beyond our way of measuring with His blessing and favor in overflowing good measure.

Psalms: “God arises. His enemies scatter, and those who hate him flee from his presence. As smoke is blown away, so you blow them away. As wax melts before the fire, so the wicked are destroyed before God. But the righteous are glad; they rejoice before God and celebrate with joy. Sing to God! Sing praises to his name. Exalt him who rides on the clouds — his name is the Lord — and celebrate before him. God in his holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows. God provides homes for those who are deserted. He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a scorched land.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭68:1-6‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This psalm begins with a reference to a saying of Moses. As the nation of Israel was wandering in the desert, they followed God’s presence in the form of a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. Each time the pillar of smoke would rise off the tabernacle and begin to move, Moses would say, “Let God arise, and may His enemies be scattered…” The protection of the Lord comes as we follow Him. His Kingdom power and authority is present in the lives of those who follow Him and seek first the things of His Kingdom instead of the rewards of this world. God’s identity as a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows is true of those who, in the midst of their loss, place their trust in their Heavenly Father and the Bridegroom of the Church. God’s blessing of pure joy, provision, protection, peace, and prosperity is given to those who set their eyes on the Lord, wait on Him, and follow His word, will, and ways. Those who reject God’s leading (the rebellious) are not afforded God’s life and blessing and must wring out whatever rewards and resources they can from the sin-scorched wilderness of the world.

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